You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 14, 2016

New York Man Charged In Manhattan Federal Court With Fraud And Impersonating A Government Official

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Philip R. Bartlett, the Inspector-in-Charge of the New York Office of the United States Postal Inspection Service (“USPIS”), announced today the arrest of BRANDON JONES, a/k/a “Brandon McGeer,” a/k/a “Brandon Jones-McGeer,” for impersonating an officer or employee of the United States, wire fraud, conspiring to commit wire fraud, and passing fictitious government obligations.  JONES, 34, was arrested by USPIS agents this morning in Manhattan and will be presented this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank Maas in Manhattan federal court.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “As alleged, Brandon Jones purported to be the head of a fake organization tied to the U.N. and the U.S. government that promoted ‘international peace and security.’  But, as alleged, all that Jones was really promoting was a fraud scheme to obtain goods and services for himself through fake government purchase orders and travel requests.  Thanks to the work of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Jones’s alleged fraud has now been exposed.”  

USPIS Inspector-in-Charge Philip R. Bartlett stated: “Mr. Jones attempted to outwit everyone by using bogus contractual documents to further his alleged scheme to steal and manipulate businesses to provide goods and services to him as a ‘government official;’ but he couldn’t outwit Postal Inspectors when he was arrested for his criminal activities.”

According to the criminal Complaint[1] unsealed today:                       

Beginning in at least November 2015, JONES held himself out as a Commissioner of “The Office of the Commissioner, an IGO,” an organization falsely purporting to be part of the United Nations and the United States government.  In his role as Commissioner, JONES gave fraudulent purchase orders and government travel requests to businesses in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of products and services, including airline tickets and electronics, to which he was not entitled and for which the businesses were never paid.     

*                *             *

JONES is charged with one count of impersonating an official or employee of the United States government, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison; one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and one count of passing fictitious obligations, which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.  The four charges each also carry a maximum fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. 

In March 2015, an investigation undertaken with the United States Secret Service into one of JONES’s employees, an alleged “Deputy Commissioner” of the “Office of the Commissioner, an IGO,” Sandra Zongo, led to Zongo being charged with one count of impersonating an official or employee of the United States government; one count of wire fraud; and one count of passing fictitious obligations.  Zongo was arrested on those charges in May 2015, and her case (15 Cr. 319) is presently scheduled to proceed to trial before U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood in October 2016.           

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the USPIS.  He added that the investigation is continuing.

The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Kiersten A. Fletcher and Jessica K. Fender are in charge of the prosecution. 

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The USPIS encourages the public to report any information it has regarding JONES or the “Office of the Commissioner” by phone at (212) 330-3518 or by email at alborofsky@uspis.gov.

 

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 
16-192
Updated July 14, 2016